#Review By Lou of Summer at the French Cafe By Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #RomanticFiction #WomensFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Summer #SummerReading

Summer at the French Cafe
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Summer at the French Cafe is unputdownable, may keep you up for longer than you thought and will most certainly transport you to a French idyll where the food is good and where you’ll meet characters to embrace and be enraptured by.
Read onwards to the blurb and the rest of my review below. First, thanks to Avon Books for the review copy.

Summer at the French Cafe

Blurb

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel. ‘

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

The perfect summer read for fans of Trisha AshleySarah Morgan and Carole Matthews.

Review

Whether you are avoiding the airport queues or having a staycation or travelling to France, Summer at the French Cafe will get you in the mood for whatever your plans are.

Summer at the French Cafe provides wonderful escapism and great story-telling. There’s lots to entice – food, romance, friendship, humour to get bound up with this summer. Kat is a great character to get to know. She works at the cafe/bookshop that she has 100% embraced.

Life, despite the idyl of the the parkland backdrop and the setting of the lovely cafe, life isn’t as easy as creating tasty pastries. Kat has come from a broken home life, with many issues, that she then proceeds to try to resolve with her brother and father, to try to re-establish relationships. As she does this, along comes Noah. Noah is kind and understanding, but this is also not always an easy relationship as Kat’s previous relationships in romantic entanglements have also been troubled, even her work takes advantage. The book covers coercive relationships well. That being said, there is an air of the upliftiing summery spirit as Kat is strong and independant and doesn’t allow all the emotional baggage to weigh so heavily to have her completely crumble.
She also has an important and perhaps, life changing decision to make – to open herself up to romance with the lovely Noah or not. Noah also has to work out what to do for best for his daughter too and whether and how he can continue to be the perfect boyfriend and take care of his daughter’s sensitivities.

Summer at the French Cafe is unputdownable and a perfect read to escape into and not exit until the very end.

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#Interview By Lou with Siena about her book Why We Walk, Illustrated By Shannon Wilvers @rararesources #Siena #ShannonWilvers #ChildrensBook #SummerRead #Summer #Walking #Nature #SienasStories #WhyWeWalk #PictureBook #GreatOutdoors #Outside

Interview with Siena
About her new children’s book – Why We Walk

It was a pleasure to interview Siena – the author of Why We Walk, a Canadian who writes stories for young children that are relatable and entertaining for children the world over. This one is suitable for 1-6 year olds. You will find out why it was written, her passion for people walking and the environment, how she puts her books together and how the writer/illustrator working relationship came about. Finally you will find a little about how Siena felt when her first book got published and how she had to convince her family.
First, find out about the blurb and then onto the 5 questions in the interview.

Blurb

Why we walk_coverWhen we walk we see things that we would have missed if we drove. Things like birds, cats, & squirrels. When we walk we have fun spending time together. We talk and learn how walking can help to care for our planet. Join Siena and her dad as they walk to school and discover every little step counts.

This is the second book in the Siena’s Stories series. The first book, The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine.

Now onto the interview…

  1. You have a clear passion for walking and inspiring young children to get outside to walk, what inspired you to write the book – Why We Walk? Also, what is your favourite types of places to walk?

This book was my first idea for a book. It just came to me when my daughter asked me that simple question while we walked to school. I like to walk and really enjoy birdwatching. I walk almost daily for exercise and enjoy trying to find my favourite bird, the cardinal.

  1. What inspired you to care about the environment?

I grew up on a small island off the coast of British Columbia and learned about sustainability at an early age. I also saw the destruction of the land by the mine my parents worked in and the clear cutting of the old growth forest by a nearby logging settlement. It seemed like every year the clear cuts got closer and closer to my island and they were ruining the amazing view I had of the surrounding forest and ocean from my window. I will always remember waking up early to eat breakfast and watching all the stars in full view without the big city lights.

I also have fond memories of the many times Green Peace ships would visit our settlement and share their stories.

  1. Do you find that by writing children’s books about walking and how this helps the environment then rubs off on adults. I had a primary school teacher who had a passion for the environment in the 90’s and a lot permanently rubbed off on me and positively impacted my thinking. Do you think books like yours has a real impact for the longer term how children think as they grow into adults?

I have faith that children today are much more aware of how their parents polluted the planet and will take measures to combat climate change. My book will be a small reminder.  I also believe technology will help them along the way. I used to work in the power electronics industry and have first hand experience with solar, wind and micro hydro installations. They are becoming more affordable everyday. I tell my daughter that even small simple changes like LED lighting will make a huge difference over time.

  1. You have an illustrator – Shannon Wilvers. How did this working relationship come about and can you give a little insight into the process of you both working together to create a finished story?

I had come up with the idea for my book a few years ago but I cannot draw. I do collect original comic book art and have a side job selling movie memorabilia at comic conventions. At the various shows I met a local comic artist (Geof Isherwood) who also teaches art at a local technical school. I discussed the book with Geof and he introduced me Shannon who was his student at the time.

I use Microsoft Powerpoint to write the books. I create a slide and put in the text. Next, I insert a personal picture or a picture from the internet as reference for Shannon. When I am done, I send the file to Shannon. She creates a storyboard and we fine tune the art and text.

  1. Your first book – The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine. How did that make you feel and how did you celebrate?

I was over the moon. I had a hard time convincing my family and friends that I was serious about writing these books. Newsweek helped bring them over to my side.

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#Review of A Home In The Sun by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooks #SummerRead #Summer #Books

A Home In The Sun
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Home In the Sun is a great summer read by Sue Moorcroft. Readers can escape to Malta, with it’s beautiful scenery and find out about Judith’s complicated life of love and woe and more… It is a delight for these hot weather days and nights. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.
I thank Avon Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me a book.
Please note, my review is unbiased.

A Home In the Sun

A gorgeous summer read about new beginnings from the Sunday Times bestseller.

Home is where the heart is…but what if your heart is broken?

When Judith loses her partner, she loses her life in Malta too – including the beautiful view from her sun-warmed balcony of the sparkling blue waters of Sliema Creek.

Back in England, Judith finds a spare room in her sister’s house where she grew up – but with it comes a whole host of family dramas. Nursing a broken heart, Judith knows she must find happiness again – and rebuild her life on her own terms.

Could an island in the sun be the answer she is looking for?

A wonderfully escapist summer read, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews.

Review

A Home In the SunWho can, on a hot, balmy summer’s day, resist that title?

Judith McAllistair, in 2000 is 40 and lives in Malta and is hungry for change. New millenium, start of a new decade in her life, newly single, she sees it the perfect time to make changes. Already new romance is on the horizon with Georgio Zammit. All isn’t as it seems with a peel back of the sun and scenery, into the culture of Malta, one that makes this potential romance tricky and a bit squirmy. It’s a part of their culture that isn’t talked about as it resembles very little to the tourist scene, but is part of real life for the permanent population. It gives a very interesting insight for people wanting to reside there, that becomes compelling. The summer vibe is also all there, adding to that blissful summery mood.

The book moves to the first chapter and time has also moved onto April 2004 and there’s sizzling romance and it oozes with delightful scenery and diving is on the agenda. Everything is idyllic and has, even though, Judith is living in Malta, it has that easy holiday feel atmosphere, until tragedy strikes and her world of new hot passion is turned upside down and she is brought to earth with a jolt.

There is time for readers to soak up the Maltese sun and surroundings, which makes it lovely to escape into, amongst the challenges of the characters lives, which also takes readers to England in a move that isn’t taken lightly and ends up in Birnham, where welcomings aren’t all terribly warm and emotions are high and adjusting and building a new life is harder than it is assumed to be. There are serious money issues and the need for a new job and huge decisions to make about what it is she wants to do and not do for a living. It is fun meeting everyone, but not always easy for Judith to be reunited with people. As if that isn’t enough to contend with. there is an unexpected issue involving a snake…

In part 2, time slinks into 2005. There are secrets to keep and lives for Judith to watch moving on and to be halted by more tragedy that is beautifully observed in the writing.

The writing has everything from sadness, anger, humour and overriding all of that is absolute pure drama as the past affects the present and future and how lives can move on and keeps you guessing how they can and if that is possible and where Judith will end up in her life – England or Malta?

#BookReview by Lou An Endless Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #Summer #SummerRead #Fiction

An Endless Cornish Summer By Phillipa Ashley ★★★★★

Rating: 5 out of 5.

An Endless Cornish Summer is a great summer read that will take you on a heartrendering mission to find a donor. It’s quite a story that has some heartache, but an overriding warmth and escapism with some romance. It’s a great book for on the beach. Find out more in my blurb and check out the rest of my review too. I thank Avon Books for allowing me to review and gifting me the book.

An Endless Cornish Summer

Blurb

Escape to the seaside with this gorgeous new series from the Sunday Times bestselling author – perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Heidi Swain. Rose Vernon is headed to a quiet Cornish village – to find the man who saved her life.  For Rose, every day is a gift. She narrowly survived a life-threatening illness and owes everything to her anonymous donor. Determined to thank him, Rose follows a trail of clues that lead her to the little Cornish fishing village of Falford. But things become complicated when Rose is drawn into local life, becoming involved in the legendary Falford Regatta and meeting the handsome Morvah brothers – one of whom might just be the man she’s looking for. But which one? Can Rose find the answer she’s searching for, or will she lose her heart before the summer is over?

Review

An Endless Cornish SummerThis has a great summer feel and a great story. Rose has had a life-threatening illness and has been in hospital in an isolation ward, where even stem-cell treatment crops up. Fast forward 4 years later and things are much better, but sad events still occur in her life, but it is heartwarming that Marge lleaves a powerful, beautiful letter, which persuades her to start to hunt for her donor. It’s quite a story that has heartache, is heartrendering and affairs of the heart. Rose meets Finn Morvah and he and his family own Morvah Marine, but business is complicated on the backdrop of gorgeous scenery, boats and boatyards, that make the area colourful and come to life, along with the other characters she meets. There’s even the potential for a spot of romance and it keeps you guessing whether she will fall for Finn or Joey or neither of them. They also have to work her out too, whether she will be interested in either of them, or so dedicated to her job as an archeologist that she doesn’t have time for that sort of thing. It also brings some light humour to what starts out as quite a heartbreaking situation and moves to being heartwarming, romantic in a way that is great for lounging in the sun with. It is all such a joy to escape to Cornwall and its coastal scenery. It really does make you wish summer would never end. It has that sunshine glow written all over it that makes it a great summer read!

#BookReview by Lou Home by Penny Parkes @CotswoldPenny @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC #Home #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction

Home
By Penny Parkes

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Home is engrossing and warm as well as intriguing as you open each door in different parts of the country as you travel with Anna as she does her job and meet different people who own the homes in this intriguing, warm,’Must Read’ book that you may have to take with you through every door you go through as it’s so compelling to read.
Find out more in the blurb and more of my thoughts in my review and then a bit about the author.
Firstly, thanks to Books and the City – Simon and Schuster publishers for inviting me to review for the blog tour and for gifting me with the book that has many doors – Home. The book was published 8th July and is her 5th book. It is a standalone.

Home Cover Pic

Blurb

‘Moving, hopeful and heartfelt… an ideal book group read’ AJ Pearce (who wrote Dear Mrs Bird, Yours Cheerfully)

A gripping and heartfelt story about overcoming the past and finding where you belong.

Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives – caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.

But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.

Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.

Compelling, rich and evocative, Home is Anna’s journey to discovering that it isn’t where you settle down that matters, but the people you have around you when you do. 
Home Cover Pic

Review

What an invitation to open every door just by opening a book. Who could resist to see who lives behind each one and where in the country these lovely doors are located.

The book takes readers to different parts of the country on a journey, which means arriving, stopping for a bit before moving on and meeting more and more new people. It adds to the excitement and intrigue of this book, which is all very interesting. It also shows a certain way of life and the trade-offs, the need for self-protection, a certain strenght and resilience as well as maturity and more in Anna’s character makeup.

Live life in 2019 in: Oxford, Dittisham, Bath, London, Chipping Norton
Have a past between 1998 and 2019 in: Swindon, Coventry, Oxford

The book begins in 2019 in Oxford she then moves onto Dittisham and then Bath. Some owners she meets, others she doesn’t. The properties often sound wonderful and the people she does meet, colourful and full of life. Anna is in-fact a house-sitter and also has another dream job she is meant to be working on.
Housesittin sounds an amazing responsibility and wonderful job and one I didn’t know existed. I am now thinking of exchanging my job to be a house-sitter, this book makes it sound so interesting. 

The book shows that housesitting isn’t a walk in the park, with not only the house to keep safe and clean, but also sometimes pets and the comings and goings of other people and the rules that are left to follow to the letter.

Anna and her friend Kate are also into books in a big way and have a sense of joviality about them as well as the seriousness of life and how not even friendships are easy . They are terrifically conceived characters, who  have a certain pull and you want to get to know. What’s also great are these characters try not to take anything for granted, including their lives, the scenery, the architecture, they just take it all in and are continually awe-inspired

The book also goes back to Anna’s childhood and the social workers she had as part of her care package and what a hotchpotch of people she had. It also shows her growing up, so as much as lots of the book is set in 2019, this gives an interesting back-story. She also, in this time meets her dad, so you get to know him a bit and what happened that she was in care and in university. All in all it is nice to see her life to progress to where she is now, in 2019. It’s also interesting to see why she is how she is.

All that travelling and meeting new characters kept me absolutely engrossed! It is easy to say that I highly recommend this book.

About the Author

Penny Parkes survived a convent education largely thanks to a ready supply of inappropriate novels and her passion for writing and languages.
She studied International Management in Bath and Germany, before gaining experience with the BBC. She then set up an independent film location agency and spent many happy years organising shoots for film, television and advertising – thereby ensuring that she was never short of travel opportunities, freelance writing projects or entertaining anecdotes.
Penny now lives in the Cotswolds with her husband, two children and an excitable dog with a fondness for Post-its.
She will often be found plotting epic train journeys through the Alps, baking gluten-free goodies or attempting to reach an elusive state of organisation.
In 2017, Penny won the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year Award. This is her fifth novel.
Follow Penny on Twitter and Instagram: @CotswoldPenny

Home Blog Tour graphic

#Review by Lou of -The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent @lizziedent @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

The Summer Job
By Lizzie Dent
Rated: 5 Stars *****

The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent is a joy for anyone’s spring/summer book collection. It’s moving, funny, great scenery and food. It’s such good entertainment and fun which is so uplifting. It’s a great plot for a relaxed weekend or evening. It’s one to watch out for this spring!
Thank you so much to  Ellie Hudson at Viking Books for gifting me a copy of this joyous book and for inviting me to this very exciting blog tour.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too, which is also fun…

The Summer Job

Blurb

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)

The Summer Job is a fresh, fun, feel-good romcom for fans of The Flatshare, Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids.

WANT TO ESCAPE REAL LIFE FOR A WHILE? RUN AWAY WITH BIRDY FINCH, A MESSY HEROINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD. THE SUMMER JOB IS THE HOTTEST DEBUT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THIS YEAR.

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

Review

The Summer JobThe Summer Job is such a glorious book. I was thoroughly entertained and the food and wine all sounds absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious, set in Scotland amongst the pretty scenery, especially around the loch. It is such fun and really lifts the spirit. 
Birdy Finch is such a unique character, who isn’t perfect and she hasn’t worked out all of life yet, but she has heart, which makes her so brilliant to read about. The premise of running away from your life is written in such a way that you can’t help but want to join her. The humour in this book is devine and provides a great time for escapism as Birdie Finch, in her early 30’s escapes London to a lovely hotel in Scotland and ends up pretending to be a sommelier, with funny consequences as she pretends to be Heather, her best friend, who is the expert in this area, but wanted to spend time travelling with her boyfriend. It’s a great plot to easily slip into for a relaxed weekend or evening.

Lizzie Dent has produced a character who is so readable and feels authentic in such a delightful, feel-good rom-com. The sort that would be great, translated onto screen as well.
She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there and that makes her seem so real and so many people will be able to relate on some level, but also has spirit in character and humour in the situations she finds herself in.
She is a bit like a contemporary of Bridget Jones in some ways and is very engaging and a great debut!
Lizzie Dent is an exciting author to watch!

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

The Summer Job Blog tour 2